Home Birth

Guide Information
Last Update:Nov 28th, 2009
Guide URL:http://demo.libguides.com/homebirth
Description:For anyone interested in learning more about homebirths.
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Guide Index
Home & Users Guide
Reference Books
Journals and Databases
Other Books

Home & Users Guide

Users Guide

Welcome! In this libguide you will find lots of information on childbirth and pregnancy, with an emphasis on Homebirths. Whether you are a medical student doing research, or a parent-to-be, here you will find helpful information to answer all your questions from all sides of the argument. I hope you find this useful and please feel free to contact me if you have problems locating these resources, or have additional resources you think would be a good addition.

Homebirthing in the US is often a contreversial topic, with many physicians on one side and midwives on the other. In order to give a balanced perspective on birthing and childbirth's at home, I have divided this guide by types of material.  The tabs are as follows:

1. Encylopedia's and other reference books. These source provide a lot of historical information on birth in the US and around the world.

2. Journal titles and databases. Here you will find articles from both physicians and midwives, who often have differing opinions of homebirths.

3. Online resources. These include informational websites as well as a few personal blogs from both sides of the fence.

4. Nonfiction books. These are guides to natural or homebirth.

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Reference Books


Encyclopedia of Sex and Gender

Malti-Douglas, F. (Ed.). (2007). Encycolpedia of sex and gender (Vol. 1). London: Macmillan Reference USA.

The four volume encyclopedia covers a wide range of information about sex and gender from multiple perspectives including anthropology, biology, cultural studies, history, literatures, psychology and sociology.  The encyclopedia explores a great number of topics but also covers each one with considerable depth.  It is organized by theme, and has an easy to use and extensive index. Each entry has the author listed and all entries have been peer reviewed and are clearly stated and unbiased, despite the often controversial topics it covers. The editor, Malti-Douglas adds additional create to the articles within.  Although a wide range of topics are covered in the encyclopedia, it is a good starting place to look for the history of birth and women’s rights as well as the changes that have taken place in this area.

Suggested Search: Birth, Midwife


Encyclopedia of Childbearing

 Rothman, B., (1993). Encyclopedia of Childbearing. Phoenix: Oryx Press.

The encyclopedia takes a look at the many aspects of childbearing, from a less technical and medical standpoint and give it more of a social and political view including histories of women’s right in the US and case studies from childbirth in the Netherlands.  Covers 250 topics which are alphabetically arranged and signed by the author. Editor Rothman is well known for books and resources around childbirth, motherhood and the social/psychological effects on mothers as well as history of childbearing in the US. Although not published in the early 1990’s, it still gives a good history of issues around childbirth and the options a woman has to choose homebirth.  This book is another good resource for those looking for information on the ever changing way the US approaches childbirth and midwifery.

Suggested Search: Homebirth, American Childbirth Practices, The Netherlands, Natural Childbirth, Midwifery

Other Reference Materials

Mosby's Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing and Health Professions

Mosby. (Ed.). 2008. Mosby's dictionary of medicine, nursing and health professions. Mosby.

This dictionary provides definitions and helpful illustrations of medical terms particularly helpful for nurses and others in the medical profession. The book includes up to 51,000 entries and 2450 color illustrations. It is very comprehensive and easy to use including an index.  Articles include definitions of diseases, conditions, tests, anatomy, injuries and more.  It is useful to both medical professionals and the average reader who wants or needs to know more. It is very helpful for those doing research in homebirths as there are often a lot of medical related terms that is very important to know, which are not always defined in the books and websites that are common among this type of research.   

Childbirth: A medical dictionary, bibliography, and annotated research guide to internet references

Health Publica Icon Health Publications, & (Eds.). (2004). Childbirth - A medical dictionary, bibliography, and annotated research guide to internet references . Health Publica Icon Health Publications .

This extremely helpful book is a 3 in 1 resource. It contains a dictionary of relevant terms and information around childbirth. In addition, it has hundreds of bibliographic reference and possibly most importantly, an information on how to find factual and up to date information on this topic on the internet. With the ability of anyone to publish on the internet, it is extremely important to know how to evaluate and find relevant, trustworthy sites online. This guide not only gives you definitions of useful terms, but helps navigate the vast world on information on the web, saving time.  It is designed for both medical professionals, and any lay person who is doing research on topics related to childbirth.

 Search Suggestions: homebirth, midwives

Birthing Emergency Skills Training: Manual for Out-of-Hospital Midwives

Gruenberg, B. (2008). Birthing emergency skills training: Manual for out-of-hospital midwives. Duncannan, PA: Birth Guru Publications.

This extensive handbook on birth emergencies for midwives who are practicing out of hospitals is a good resource for those who are looking to educate themselves about all aspects of homebirth.  Those who choose homebirths are low-risk patients, but it is important that all who choose this route are educated about the risks. While advocating for midwives and homebirths, this book also gives unbiased and practical information about when homebirth is appropriate and safe and when it is important that patients be given additional medical health from more advanced forms of medical technology. Although not a necessarily a resource for mothers to be, it is a good resource for research and midwives to use. It includes helpful illustrations and includes specific information and specific emergencies as well as general information on how to deal with and being a critical thinker in the midst of emergencies. 

The Whole Pregnancy Handbook: An Obstetrician's Guide to Integrating Conventional and Alternative Medicine Before, During, and After Pregnancy

Evans, J., & Aronson, R. (2005). The whole pregnancy handbook: An obstetrician's guide to integrating conventional and alternative medicine before, during, and after pregnancy. New York: Gotham.

This guidebook gives you all the information you need to have as healthy and natural pregnancy and birthing experience as you want.  Authored by a physician who is now an expert in holistic medicine, he also provides information about and from doulas, nurse-midwives and other experts in the field of holistic medicine such as acupuncture and aromatherapies.  It includes a comprehensive index and list of resources including definitions of terms and websites for further information in particular fields such as natural supplements.  This is a great guide for anyone thinking about what options they have and in what ways they can make their pregnancy and childbirth their own.  Although the section on homebirth itself is relatively small, this is still and extremely useful guide in finding out more information about homebirth and other alternatives to a hospital based birth.

Suggested Search: Homebirth, midwives, American College of Midwives

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Journals and Databases


Journal of Midwifery and Women's Health

American College of Nurse Midwives (Ed.). (2009). All. Journal of Midwifery and Women's Health.   http://www.jmwh.com/home

In this journal you will find well research studies supporting the profession of midwifery as well as highly educational pieces surrounding health issues that are of particular importance to women. Many of the articles revolve around pregnancy and childbirth, as these are the main aspects that midwives deal with, however there is other general healthy living information as well. The journal provides a number of articles for free and much of the basic information in Spanish as well as English. The articles and editorials are primarily by and for midwives and nurse practitioners. It covers a wide range of women's health issues. The peer reviewed research and articles cover midwifery in hospitals, birthing centers and at home. Articles include information on education, public health, evidence based practice, policies and research surrounding midwifery and women’s health. Website also provides access to archived copies of the journal, which was formerly known as Journal of Nurse-Midwives.

Suggested searches include the following phrases: homebirth, home childbirth, home delivery, out-of-hospital birth, out-of-hospital deliveries.


Health and Wellness Resource Center. Gale

This general reference database on health and wellness is a great place to look for information about homebirths. The large number of international journals, including those from Canada, UK, and Australia are also very helpful for this topic as they bring in many points of view and support, or lack of support, from national organizations.  Health and Wellness Resource Center is easy to use resource from novice “average” patrons, to medical students and professionals. The database has clear labels and easy to find features. Tabs at the top of search results separate journals from pamphlets and websites etc, making it clear what type of resource you are looking at. This also helps greatly in narrowing a search. Help section is clear and easy to read for everyone, including beginner researchers with well thought out descriptions of Boolean search terms. In addition to being easy which is great for the general public, the database has enough journals and resources to help medical students and medical personal with 620 full text items available.

Suggested Search Terms: midwife, homebirth, home childbirth

Medline. OCLC First Search

This is a more comprehensive and professional database, including more than 21,000 journal titles with abstracts only from journals around the world related to medicine. It is a useful guide for medical students and personal. It has a slightly smaller collection of articles and journals related to homebirths, however, it helps to include the perspective of the physician’s view of homebirth which is often very different than that of the midwives, which is covered in other journals and databases. Covers the following topics from 1950 onward: clinical medicine, nutrition, dentistry, pathology, education, psychiatry, experimental medicine, toxicology, health services administration, veterinary medicine and nursing.  This database corresponds to information that is also in several print indexes such as Index Medicus and Nursing Index.  Although not as easy to use as some databases, the information provided and balanced view is worth the time when looking for information on HomeBirths.

Suggested Search: Pregnancy, Birth, Midwifery, Natural Childbirth

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    American College of Nurse Midwives. http://acnm.org/index.cfm

    This is the official website of American Nurse Midwives, the oldest women’s health organization in the US, founded in 1929. Its members consist of Certified Midwives and Certified Nurse Midwives.  The site provides a plethora of information about midwives and for midwives. In addition to the education and certification information they have for midwives, they provide consumer information and a directory of midwives.   American College of Nurse Midwives is also the publisher of the Journal of Nurse-Midwifery, a recognized journal in the field of midwives and birthing.  The best use of this website is the use of its directory, which can help those seeking more information find a certified midwife in their area with whom to talk. You can also connect to the journal from here and read many of the free articles that are provided about birth, midwives and homebirth.


    Midwives Alliance of North America. http://mana.org/index.html

    Midwives Alliance of North America is a professional organization for midwives which recognizes the varying education levels and certification/license levels of midwives.  It includes midwives in both the US and Canada. Their goal is to support women in making a personal choose about their birthing experience and to share knowledge of birth and birthing practices among colleagues.  The website provides many resources, including definitions of important terms, references to other materials supporting birth with a midwife and homebirths. In addition, they will provide users with a list of midwives in their area, but have a disclaimer that their organization is for anyone who defines themselves as a midwife and cannot guarantee their level of education or certification.  None the less, the website provides many helpful resources and leads to help the user educate themselves.

    Suggested Search: Browse through the definitions section. Also take a look at the resource section and links for more information.

    The Skeptical OB

    Tuteur, Amy. (2009). The Skeptical OB blog. Retrieved from http://skepticalob.blogspot.com/

    This blog is run by the blogger Dr. Amy Tuteur. According to her blog profile, she is an obstetrician gynecologist.  She received her undergraduate degree from Harvard College in 1979 and her medical degree from Boston University School of Medicine in 1984. While she is clearly an expert in the field of women’s health and childbirth, she is by her own accord, biased about it the wisdom and safety of homebirth. I’ve provided the link to her blog where she encourages a dialogue about homebirth as well as other health related topics. Users and readers of this blog should take into account that these are opinions about the topic by a number of people including the general population but that the forum is moderated and run by Dr. Tuteur. While the blog is often biased based on who is writing, and often is trying to scare people out of homebirth, it is also somewhere people are free to share their thoughts, experiences and they are encourage to provide evidence for their arguments which can help inform readers about multiple sides of the argument.

    Suggested Search: Homebirth

    View this RSS feed at: http://skepticalob.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default


    Barrett, Lisa. (2009). Homebirth: Midwife Mutiny. Retrieved from http://www.homebirth.net.au/

    This blog is run by Lisa Barrett, an independent midwife in Australia. According to her profile, she trained in England and worked in an Australian hospital for 2 years as a midwife before leaving to become an independent midwife.  It is updated regularly and focuses mostly on midwifery and homebirths in Australia. She does not claim a good relationship with the rest of the professional midwife community in Australia however she is clearly an advocate for midwifery and homebirths in particular. Here readers will find lots of practical information about homebirths, including information on medical practice, safety and birth stories. This blog also allows discussion on conversation about homebirth through the comments. It is more likely that those reading and commenting on here are pro-homebirth and therefore may be less balanced than other sources, but it does give a nice contract to the Skeptical OB who is clearly against it.

    Suggested Search:  The whole blog is focused on homebirths. The author has also tagged her blogs which you can find a list of on the left hand side of the blog for more specific topics.

    View this RSS feed at: http://feeds.homebirth.net.au/HomebirthAMidwifeMutiny
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    Other Books

    Additional Resource Books

    Better Birth: The Ultimate Guide to Childbirth from Home Birth to Hospitals

    Spatafora, D. (2009). Better birth: The ultimate guide to childbirth from home birth to hospitals. New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons.

    This book gives practical and informative information to help any parents to be make informed choices about birth. The birth experience is and should be what the mother wants it to be, and this informative book gives helpful advice on how to decide what is the best decision for you. From homebirths to hospital births, you will get a clear explanation of what these choices are how to make the most appropriate one for you. Spatafora, a certified nurse and nurse-midwife gives not only helpful information and the birth experience itself, but how to prepare, including what questions you need to ask yourself and yoga poses at different stages of pregnancy. Color photos and illustrations help clarify questions. This is another resource that will take the fear of pain and delivery and replace it with relaxation and a spiritual connection to birth. This whole book is a great reference throughout your pregnancy and birth.

    The Thingking Women's Guide to a Better Birth

    Goer, H. and Wheeler, R. (1999). The thinking women's guide to a better birth. New York: Berkley Publishing Company.

    This well organized and research books by Lamaze coach and doula, Henci Goer, is a perfect guide for those wanting to educate themselves about all their options. The book explains and evaluates research in the field of childbirth to give a thorough examination of current science and practices. Goer is straightforward and unbiased in presenting the information, allowing the reader to make an informed decision about many aspects of childbirth, from Caesarian birth to breech births, homebirths to hospital births.  This well rounded book will help you to avoid medical intervention if that is your wish, but also gives advice and encouragement when unexpected circumstances change your birth plan. Organized in chapters around differing topics, each is well researched and an extensive bibliographic list and index is provided to help you with further research. Although not a midwife of physician, Goer extensive experience as a doula and Lamaze coach and the well document research give credit to the information provided.

    Suggested Search: Chapter 13, The Place of Birth: Location, Location, Location


    Ina May's Guide to Childbirth

    Gaskin, I.M. (2003). Ina May's guide to childbirth. Bantam.

    This book, written by Ina May Gaskin, the leading advocate for midwifery and homebirths in the United States, explores the history of birth while encouraging women to make their birth a more personal experience. Instead of focusing on fear of childbirth and the pain that Gaskin says is part of the modern medical birthing experience, she explores how women can connect with their child in the birth experience. The first half of the book, explores how one can have a more calm, connect birth by sharing birthing stories and firsthand accounts of her patients. Pictures are also included to add to the stories being told. These stories are uplifting and encouraging to mothers-to-be. The second focuses on how to avoid medical intervention, such as epidurals, episiotomies and Cesarean sections when it is not necessary.  While this book is filled with helpful and encouraging information from a midwife and homebirth, it is just one of many books to consult when making decisions about birth.

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